Institute of Education


Educational thought in Muslim contexts - classical texts and their contemporary relevance

17 July 2017–31 July 2017, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

Contemporary Islamic calligraphy by Mohammad Sarreshteh (2010). Photo by البصراوي via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Dr Ayman Agbaria leads a special reading group series focusing on educational thought and practice through a close reading of classical texts from Muslim history.

Event Information

Open to



Centre for Research and Evaluation in Muslim Education (CREME)


UCL Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way
United Kingdom

The five sessions, held on Mondays and Thursdays, will be devoted to reflecting on the texts' arguments; grounding the texts in their historical contexts, and sharing insights regarding the texts' relevance to participants' lives and educational experiences.

Engaging with and through these texts, the group will ponder significant issues including identity, character, leadership, dialogue, reflexivity, and praxis in educational thought and practice.


The group will meet for five sessions in July on the following dates:

Monday 17 July, 18:00-19:30

Thursday 20 July, 18:00-19:30

Monday 24 July, 18:00-19:30

Thursday 27 July, 18:00-19:30

Monday 31 July, 16:30-19:30 (extended session)

Who can attend

Who will benefit from this reading group?

These sessions will appeal to students, scholars, educators, community leaders, and civil society activists interested in Muslim education, the history of ideas and the history of Muslim societies and literature.


The sessions will:

  • Deepen participants' knowledge of Muslim scholarship, teaching and learning and cognate activities
  • Provide participants the opportunity to generate and explore new meanings of the seminal texts and discuss their contemporary relevance.
Which texts will be read and discussed?

The texts to be discussed include (tentative list):

    • Ibn Al-Muqaffa (d. 756/759): The introductions of Kalila wa-Dimna.
    • al-Jahiz (d.869):  Selections In Praise of Books
    • Ikhwan al-Safa: The Seventh Epistle: On the Scientific Arts and What They Aim at
    • al-Farabi (d.950): Selections from The Virtuous City (Ara' ahl al-Madinah al-Fadila)
    • Ibn Miskawayh (d.1030): From the Second Discourse of The Refinement of Character
    • Abu l-ʿAla al-Maʿarri (d. 1057). Selections from The Epistle of Forgiveness.
    • al-Ghazali (d.1111): The introduction of Ihya' Ulum al-Din (The Revival of Religious Sciences), and Selections from The Duties of Brotherhood in Islam
    • Ibn Tufail (d.1185): The end of the tale of Hayy ibn Yaqdhan
    • Ibn Khaldun (d.1406): Selections from The Muqaddimah
      What is expected from reading group members?
      • Participates are expected to read texts in advance of each session, in order to be able to contribute fully to discussions. 
      • Both the Arabic and English translation will be provided
      • Reading materials will be sent to the participants a week before the first session.


      The reading group is free to attend, and will take will take place at the UCL Institute of Education. Please email ioe.creme@ucl.ac.uk if you have any questions.

      About the series convenor

      Dr Ayman K. Agbaria is a scholar, poet, playwright, and activist. Currently, he is a senior lecturer in education policy and politics at the University of Haifa, and Honorary Senior Research Associate at CREME. In recognition of his extensive involvement in Palestinian civil society organizations in Israel as an activist, Dr Agbaria has appeared three times on Haaretz's list of the fifty most influential people in education in Israel. More about Dr Agbaria.

      Related links

      Image: Mohammad Sarreshteh / Untitled, 2010. Photo by البصراوي via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).